The College developed the following practice guidelines which came into effect September 1, 2009: Custody and Access Assessments, Medication Practices and Consent and Confidentiality with Children and Youth. The guidelines were finalized following consultation with members and other stakeholders and were approved by Council in May 2009.

Practice Guidelines for Performing the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy were approved by Council in December 2017 and come into effect on December 30, 2017. These guidelines were initially approved by Council in December 2013 following broad consultation with members and other stakeholders.

The guidelines may be downloaded by clicking on the links below. Hard copies are also available on request by contacting the College at 416-972-9882 or toll-free at 1-877-828-9380.

The Practice Guidelines contain information and practice advice which should be considered by members of the College. The guidelines are developed to assist members and employers in interpreting and applying the College’s Standards of Practice in specific areas.


Custody and Access Assessments

These Guidelines were developed for social workers in Ontario who conduct custody/access assessments. Throughout the guidelines the term custody/access is used to indicate custody and/or access. The term “custody access assessment” is used to refer to any comprehensive clinical exploration of the needs of a child within the context of his/her family and environment, relevant to custody and/or access, whether or not it occurs in the context of anticipated or pending litigation, or in the absence of litigation, or pursuant to any legislation, regulations or rules and regardless of the context in which the social worker who conducts the assessment practises.

Custody and Access Assessments


Medication Practices

These Guidelines were developed for social workers and social service workers in Ontario who work in settings in which client services include providing medication. Hospitals, residential treatment centres, group homes and community-based programs such as Assertive Community Treatment Teams (ACTT) are a few such examples. Members may be confronted with situations involving assisting clients with medications and may be unsure about whether or not to assume these tasks. Since administration of medication is not a primary area of competence for social workers or social service workers, it is essential for members to understand and consider the relevant issues before making a decision about whether to carry out the task.

Medication Practices


Consent and Confidentiality with Children and Youth

These Guidelines were developed for social workers and social service workers in Ontario who encounter dilemmas pertaining to consent and confidentiality with clients who are children and youth. Such dilemmas may arise working in practice contexts such as schools, hospitals, community health settings, child welfare, residential settings or private practice. There are many pieces of legislation that are relevant when working with children and youth, as well as standards of practice that apply. The guidelines contain Decision Trees related to Consent and Confidentiality Issues to assist members in thinking through their professional obligations to make sound practice decisions.

Consent and Confidentiality with Children and Youth


Performing the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy

These Guidelines were developed for social workers and social service workers in Ontario who wish to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy. They are intended to address issues to be considered in the performance of the controlled act of psychotherapy, highlight the principles in the Standards of Practice that have particular relevance, and assist members in identifying what factors they should consider in order to determine if they are competent to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy.

Performing the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy


If you have any questions regarding the guidelines, please email the College’s Professional Practice Department or call 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380.